Tributes paid to Wolves season ticket holder and food van owner after death aged 53
Tributes have been paid to an outgoing and much-loved Wolves fan known for his food van outside Molineux who has died aged 53.
Baljit 'Balti Bal' Bhandal, a season ticket holder and "massive" fan of the club for more than 40 years, died on Tuesday after a cardiac-related incident.
The supporter was well-known in the city for having co-owned the popular Goal Post pub, now The Leaping Wolf, on Waterloo Road.
And he was a regular sight for Wolves fan outside Molineux with his Indian food van, which he also took around various pubs in the city.
Khushwant Sidhu, Mr Bhandal's cousin, said the pair were essentially brothers.
He added: "He was well known around Wolverhampton and for quite a while he had an Indian food van outside Molineux.
"He was a massive fan of the club, a home and away season ticket holder, and he used to co-own the Goal Post pub. I'm a West Bromwich Albion fan now, but we used to go to Molineux when we were nine or 10 and we used to be in the South Bank – that's where it all started.
"He used to go to away games and I saw him once at Elland Road [home to Leeds United] – I was in the Leeds end because a mate was going, and he was in the Wolves end. He was very very outgoing – he enjoyed life.
"He had his food van he took to various pubs, got to know a few landlords and also a lot of people know him. He was very popular around Wolverhampton."
And despite supporting rival teams, the cousins from Blakenhall in Wolverhampton would often discuss their clubs and their situations.
"We just used to have a laugh, and I remember him saying he would give up football if they [Albion] were owned by someone extremely wealthy, " Mr Sidhu joked.
Andy Sahota, who founded the Punjabi Wolves supporters' group, added: "He was a great guy who always had time for us. When he had the Goal Post he would welcome us with open arms, he went to away games with us – he was a good man who was loved by many."
A statement from the Wolves 1877 Trust added: "Wolves 1877 Trust are saddened to learn of the passing of a much loved Wolves supporter.
"Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Many supporters will have fond memories of Baljit Bhandal having a pre match pint in the 'Goal Post' or grabbing something to eat outside the ground.
"We hope the club can mark his passing at the upcoming Villa game."
Mr Bhandal, who co-owned the Goal Post pub around five years ago, was said to have been ill for some time with pancreatic issues before his death.